§ Mrs. Beckett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what evidence he has received, including surveys of employee reactions, on the workings of statutory sick pay to date; and how many complaints his Department has received in the last year about statutory sick pay.
§ Mr. Newton
Staff from the Department's local offices have been visiting all employers to check that the scheme has been understood and is working properly. Although some errors are being made these are generally on minor technical matters which can be expected to improve as employers become more used to the scheme's rules. In the majority of cases checked, the right amount of statutory sick pay has been paid. The Department is also in frequent contact with employers and their representatives. The National Audit Office issued a report on the scheme on 19 November. Work by the Department's policy inspectorate412W suggests that most employees prefer to receive statutory sick pay rather than state sickness benefit. Information about the numbers of complaints received is not collected, but indications are that these have been relatively few.
§ Mrs. Beckett
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what are the latest available figures for (a) the proportion of employees in an occupational sick pay scheme, (b) how these break down into (i) full-time and (ii) part-time manual and non-manual workers and low-paid workers where low pay is defined as less than £100 per week, (c) the average length of sickness covered in occupational sick pay schemes for each of the groups as in (b) and (d) the average payment as a proportion of salary/wages for each of the groups as in (b).